Friedel streak ends, but Villa draws with Manchester United 1-1.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Wednesday, February 10, 2010) -- Aston Villa's United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel saw his streak of four straight clean sheets end on an own goal in a 1-1 draw with visiting Manchester United tonight on a cold, wintry night with snow in the air at Villa Park.
Friedel, who had eight shutouts in his previous 10 English Premier League outings, was sharp again. He was only beaten when United midfielder Ryan Giggs sent in a sharp ball from the left side into the penalty area and it hit Villa defender James Collins in the back of his legs, changing the ball's direction and leaving Friedel flatfooted as it went into the net to tie the game at 1-1 in the 23rd minuted.
Defender Carlos Jiminez Cuellar had given Villa a lead four minutes earlier,
Villa had a man advantage after United's Brazilian midfielder Nani was sent off with a red card in the 29th minute. Despite being down a man, United carried the match to Villa and created several good chances.
Friedel, who made two saves, stopped Michael Carrick with a brilliant stop in the 35th minute, beat Wayne Rooney to a through ball at the top of the box in the 64th minute and then denied Rooney on a blast from just outside of the box 10 minutes later.
United would have taken over first place with a victory; instead the Red Devils are 18-5-3 with 57 points, trailing Chelsea (18-4-4) by a point. Villa is in seventh place 11-5-9 with 42 points, only two points below fourth place, which would mean a spot in European Champions League qualifying.
U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan had an assist in a strong first half for host Everton, which dropped Chelsea 2-1 at Goodison Park.
Chelsea striker Florent Malouda beat U.S. keeper Tim Howard for a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
In the 33rd minute, Donovan placed a perfect corner kick into the heart of the box and forward Louis Saha went low to head it past Petr Cech to equalize at 1-1.
As the match entered first-half stoppage, Saha ran onto a deep ball just outside the box and as he cut it back into the box, he was taken down by Chelsea central defender Ricardo Carvalho. A penalty kick was awarded, but Saha's attempt was saved by Cech.
Saha made up for his miss with the winning goal in the 75th minute.
Everton stands ninth at 9-8-8 (35 points) after upsetting the league leader.
Howard ended up with three saves, while Donovan received a yellow card in the 64th minute for a bad tackle.
U.S. keeper Marcus Hahnemann turned in another solid performance with a shutout for Wolverhampton, which defeated visiting Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at Molineux Stadium.
With Hahnemann making four saves, including a stoppage-time stop on Spurs defender Sébastien Bassong, the Wolves took advantage of a goal by midfielder David Jones in the 27th minute.
Wolves (6-13-6, 24 points), one point above the relegation zone in a four-way tie for 14th place, detoured Spurs drive for a place in the Champions Cup next season. Tottenham would have climbed to fourt place with a victory; instead, it is in sixth place at 12-7-7 (43 points).
U.S. striker Jozy Altidore went the distance for Hull City, which fell 1-0 to host Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
Rovers prevailed on an own goal, mishandled by keeper Boaz Myhill, in the 19th minute, while Hull generated little attack, .
Altidore received a yellow card in the 62nd minute.
Hull (5-12-9, 24) is in the four-way tie for 14th place, one point the drop zone, while Rovers are 11th at 8-11-7 with 31 points.
American defender Jonathan Spector played the second half for West Ham United in a 2-0 triumph at home over Birmingham City.
West Ham is also in the 14th place tie at 5-11-9 with 24 points, but has a game in hand on Hull. Birmingham is eighth at 10-8-7 (37 points).
In Scotland's Premier League. American midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu remain injured for Glasgow Rangers, who played a 1-1 draw at home against Motherwell.
Rangers are first at 16-1-7 with 55 points, eight ahead of Glasgow Celtic (15-5-5), a 2-0 winner over Heart of Midlothian.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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